How to contact us for advice

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Our advice service

We provide advice to parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and kinship carers who are involved with children’s services in England or need their help. We can help you understand processes and options when social workers or courts are making decisions about your child’s welfare.

Our advice service is free, independent and confidential.

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By phone or email

To speak to an adviser, please call our free and confidential advice line 0808 801 0366 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm, excluding Bank Holidays). For Textphone dial 18001 followed by the advice line number. Or you can ask us a question via email using our advice enquiry form.

Discuss on our forums

Our online advice forums are an anonymous space where parents and kinship carers (also known as family and friends carers) can get legal and practical advice, build a support network and learn from other people’s experiences.

Advice on our website

Our get help and advice section describes the processes that you and your family are likely to go through, so that you know what to expect. Our webchat service can help you find the information and advice on our website which will help you understand the law and your rights.

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Private arrangements (often referred to as a ‘private family arrangement’)

Some children are cared for by a close relative. For example, a grandparent or aunt and uncle. This may be under a private arrangement with the child’s parents. Children’s services may not be involved at all.

Because agreement is reached privately, this is different from kinship care. Because the family have made a private arrangement, children’s services do not have a specific responsibility to provide financial or other support to the family.

However, social workers have been known to ask families if they will care for a child who cannot stay safely at home with their parents and then to describe this is a ‘private arrangement’. This can affect whether the carers get support to raise the child. If this happens it is a good idea to seek independent advice from a solicitor. Or to contact the Family Rights Group advice service.

It is important to note that if a child is being cared for in a private arrangement which is (or which is intended to be), for 28 days or more and the carer:

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